The Chamber (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  11 October 1996 (USA)
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A young man fresh out of law school tries to win a reprieve for his racist grandfather who is on death row.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
E. Garner Goodman
Rollie Wedge / Donnie Cayhall (as Raymond Barry)
Sgt. Clyde Packer
Nora Stark
Gov. David McAllister
Judge Flynn F. Slattery
Atty. Gen. Roxburgh
Wyn Lettner
Greg Goossen ...
J.B. Gullitt (as Gregory Goossen)
Seth Isler ...
Marvin B. Kramer
Ruth Kramer
Sid Johnson ...
Josh Kramer


Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather's only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall seeks at the last minute to appeal the old man's death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. "Hall" confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr. "Cayhall," about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man's life lies in the balance, Adam's motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wounds of his own father's suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always felt for the ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time is running out.


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Kammer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,612,095 (USA) (11 October 1996)


ITL 419,247,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In a 2006 BBC TV Culture Show interview, John Grisham stated that this was the adaptation of his work he liked least See more »


When Lee (Faye Dunaway) shows Adam (Chris O'Donnell) the photo allegedly of her father at a lynching in Mississippi as a boy, it is actually the iconic photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana. The young Sam Cayhill has been edited into the original photograph. See more »


Sam Cayhall: Save me. Your don't look like you can save a turkey from Thanksgiving.
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Fine Mi Lassa
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Arranged by Trevor Jones
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
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User Reviews

Entertaining, Thanks To Hackman & O'Donnell
9 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is not one of the more famous (author) John Grisham based-movies and it's a bit talky for my normal tastes, but it was interesting. You can thank Chris O'Donnell and Gene Hackman for two excellent acting performances which helped make this so entertaining in spots.

O'Donnell plays young attorney "Adam Hall" (shades of Matt Damon's character in another Grisham movie, "The Rainmaker"). Meanwhile, it's no surprise that Hackman gives us another fascinating performance, this time as the attorney's brutally racist grandfather, "Sam Cayhall." He's been imprisoned for a murder and O'Donnell is trying to release him from a death sentence. Hackman's performance elevates from a "fair" to a "good" movie. While O'Donnell is trying to do his job, a few revelations occur considering his Klansman grandpa. Faye Dunaway also is in here and has a memorable scene with "Sam."

Yes, the critics were right in that this could have been better but they were off base blasting this film. It's still an entertaining film, and they forget the value of that.

39 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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